Keratoconus and Scleral Lenses
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a degeneration of the clear front surface of the eye, called the cornea. The cornea gets thinner and thinner, resulting bulging forward of this tissue. This results in significantly blurred vision that is not correctable with glasses or regular soft contact lenses. It is also progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time until an individual reaches their mid to late 50s, on average.
It is more common in Black/ African American and Latino/ Hispanic populations and while not common, it also is not rare. Dr. Manning, the founder of the Keratoconus and Scleral Lens Institute at Bettner Vision, and Dr. Bettner take a two-prong approach for patients newly diagnosed with keratoconus. The first step is a consultation for a procedure called Corneal Crosslinking. This procedure, approved by the FDA in 2016, is the only known treatment for slowing, if not stopping altogether, the progression of keratoconus. The second step is the expert fitting of a specialty contact lens, including corneal, hybrid, or scleral lenses to achieve the best vision possible. While many optometrists state they fit scleral lenses, it takes years of experience fitting a multitude of patients to achieve the best and most efficient outcome. Our doctors are among the most experienced in Colorado at fitting these highly customized lenses.
As keratoconus, as well as other forms of corneal degeneration, is a medical condition, many medical and vision insurance companies have benefits that can be used for contact lens services. Our insurance specialists will work with your insurance company directly to determine if you have these benefits.
What are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses were actually the first type of contact lens ever invented back in the late 1800s. They were made of glass (ouch!) and did nothing to correct vision. They fell out of style until the 1990s with the release of rigid gas permeable materials that allowed a lot of oxygen to the front surface of the eye.
In keratoconus, the front surface of the eye is irregular, therefore soft lenses are unable to correct for this irregularity. Scleral lenses are filled with a saline solution that corrects all the irregularity, resulting in exceptionally clear vision. The lens is a little bigger than most lenses, which may sound like it would be uncomfortable. However, the lenses never touches the ultra-sensitive cornea which means they are much more comfortable than corneal gas permeable lenses for keratoconus.
Learn more about the Scleral Lens Journey
What makes us different?
Dr. Manning and Dr. Bettner have a passion for fitting scleral lenses and have years of experience caring for patients with keratoconus. They know the challenges their patients experience daily and know the importance of explaining every step of the scleral lens fitting process. The Keratoconus and Scleral Lens Institute is built on the Bettner Vision way, a proven 5-star patient experience that revolutionizes vision and medical eye care. In addition, Dr. Manning has lectured on scleral lenses internationally to both optometry students and optometrists alike and has been published in Review of Cornea and Contact Lens.